It took me some time to begin shopping for groceries at supermarket chains. I felt disloyal to my neighbourhood general stores where my rupee contributed to the preservation of "small business".
In the face of horrifying parking issues in Pune ( where not one building has adhered to parking laws, and has sold or rented parking spaces to house yet more shops, so customers are forced to park on the road, creating more jams, obstructions and stress) I have been forced to frequent the self help supermarkets proliferating all over Pune..
It has not all been under protest though. The parking lots are the main attraction. No major warfare at the time of parking. Trolleys to save the weight on my arms, airconditioning and choice.All this makes it an option today.The time saved, alone, makes it worthwhile.
In the beginning it seemed as if every supermarket catered to a foreign clientele- olive oil, pasta, mayonnaise , tinned , processed and unrecognisable foods filled the shelves. However I was glad to notice that one or two supermarkets had the average Indian customer in mind and offered, besides jowar and bajra grains and flour, more niche foods like dosa batter, idli batter and khowa, lassi and paneer.
And so I became a regular customer at Auchan (once known and soon to be known again as Spar.)
Ah Woe is Me!!
For the last month I have been going to the delicatessan counter to pick up the usual batter and have been met with an indifferent ...." Its finished or Just starting to grind, or I dont know , not available. " No explainations, no concern, no attempt to cater to the customer. Nobody had bothered to ensure that products which were advertised were actually stocked or available.
When attempting to make a complaint, there is no manager, no assistant manager, no customer care human available . Have they all gone to lunch at 12 oclock at the same time, or maybe congregating for an important meeting in the toilet?
Unless you stage a dharna and raise your voice no person in sight wants to come forward and take responsibility.
As in all these large companies when it comes to the crunch the customer just has to lump it because no one is hearing. It seems every food retail business in India is making money hand over fist and couldn't care one bit about the consumer....yes, us little people who make your tills ring.
It is no longer worth going out of my way to a supermarket to buy ALL my groceries on the promise of one or two items specific to them, when there is no guarantee that they will be available. For the rest what they stock is what my mom and pop store stocks. So its back to Panchali General store for me.
Bye Bye Auchan and Spar